Parution de l’article What does “nature” mean ? par Ducarme, F., & Couvet, D.

Paru cette semaine dans la revue de SHS du groupe Nature : Ducarme, F., & Couvet, D. (2020). What does “nature” mean ? Palgrave Communications, 6(14), 1–8. DOI 10.1057/s41599-020-0390-y

ABSTRACT: The idea of ‘nature’ is at the very core of science, considered as its flagship and deepest link with human societies. However, while nature preservation has become a major social concern, the idea of nature remains elusive. We examine here the origins, etymology, and historical semantics of this word and its different meanings in contemporary European languages. It appears that this word aggregated successively different and sometimes conflicting meanings throughout its history. One of the main present occidental meanings of “nature”, designating what is opposed to humans, currently used in public policies, conservation science, or environmental ethics, hence appears rare and recent, and contradictory with most other visions of nature, including former European representations and contemporary foreign ones. Nature preservation ought to take into account this semantic diversity when proposing policies, integrating the relativity and potential inaccuracy of the currently dominating occidental definition.

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